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 Post subject: Proper ammo for old SXS
PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 4:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 4:01 pm
Posts: 7
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Have always wanted to own a SXS, so I recently picked up an old used 12 ga. Hunter Arms - Fulton Special. Despite it's age, its in pretty decent condition. I understand that this gun was the entry level class of LC Smith.

Anyway, when I bought my O/U new, the owners manual said "Up to 3" shells", but this being an old gun with no owners manual, I am not sure how large a shell I can safely fire.

I use high brass 2 3/4" for upland bird, and have several boxes of 3" steel for duck hunting. Can I use this ammo, or should I buy something else suited for this gun.

Any advise would be greatly appreciated.




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 Post subject: re: Proper ammo for old SXS
PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 4:50 pm 
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If it were me I wouldn't shoot steel out of that old Hunter.
I'm pretty sure the barrels on your gun are not rated for steel or any type 3-inch shell. 3-inch shotguns say 2-3/4 & 3 inch some where always on the barrel from what I've seen. Regardless of make, model or type.

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Last edited by jds on Tue Oct 24, 2006 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: re: Proper ammo for old SXS
PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 4:54 pm 
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Honestly, even though you can, I wouldn't shoot high brass in it either. It's old and tired now. I would give it no more than low brass shells or target loads. I would consider buying some Polywad shells. They are 2 1/2" and very light.

BT

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 Post subject: re: Proper ammo for old SXS
PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 5:44 pm 
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+1 for polywad - and I believe they do make a 2 3/4 inch as well. There's also a "cowboy action" low pressure load made by Nobelsport (I think) that's pretty good. Perhaps not ultra low pressure, but a lot lower than the promo loads from Walmart...


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 Post subject: re: Proper ammo for old SXS
PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 4:01 pm
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Location: New Hampshire, USA
Thanks for the advise - much appreciated.


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 Post subject: re: Proper ammo for old SXS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:49 am 
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I have a old Ithaca 20 gauge I got from a relative and after seventy-six years of life it will only be fed one ounce low base loads, no heavy stuff for it. :wink:


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 Post subject: re: Proper ammo for old SXS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 1:38 am 
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It might not hurt to have a gunsmith check the shotgun out and advise you of it's condition for safety sake. It would be worth the investment for peace of mind. :wink:

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 Post subject: re: Proper ammo for old SXS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:35 am 
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While a large portion of potential problems with old shotguns seem to be caused by recoil, one still needs to be conscious of produced pressures. This holds true for all guns manufactured before or around the time that SAAMI standards were established. Prior to these standards, common pressures ran around 6,000-8,000 psi, and most guns were designed for a steady diet of cartridges in this range. Once these standards were introduced, establishing "acceptable" max pressures, an immediate push towards flirting with those max's ensued. [After all, any good American knows that more is better, when it comes to firepower :? .] This rush to acheive the max made several makes and models of shotgun somewhat obsolete. Not that they would blow up or anything, they just weren't designed to take that kind of abuse on a regular basis. [Older Ithaca's are one of those.]
My point here is that while reducing payload, thus recoil, is certainly a good idea with any older gun, don't forget produced pressures. I get nervous any time someone mentions old guns and "high" or "low" brass in the same breath. The height of a cartridge's brass has nothing to do with what pressures it may produce. In fact, it often has little to do with payload. A shotshell relies solely on the chamber walls to keep from blowing up. A solid brass cartridge is no better than one made completely of plastic, without that chamber. The ammo companies know this, and could produce "magnum" loads of solid plastic. That wimpy looking plastic cartridge wouldn't sell well, however. Especially not to those looking to kill those rhino skinned mallards we have here in the U.S. :) . The reverse is also true. Brass costs money in production. Clay targets don't have rhino type skins. Lower brass on target loads is, therefore, acceptable. However, we still need those loads to be fast. A 150fps increase in pellet speed means we're getting our payload to the target that much faster. Despite the fact that the difference in lead [time/space] is almost immeasurable, we're certain it makes a difference in score.
Take a fairly light payload, kick up the velocity a notch or two, and you've just increased recoil, and most probably pressure. It still has "low" brass, however.
When shooting any older gun, take pressure as well as recoil into consideration. Light payloads can decrease recoil, but don't always decrease produced pressures. Look for published sources as to the pressures expected from any given load. Many major brands won't give you this information. Ask them anyway. If enough of us ask, they may eventually see the light and give this information freely. Meanwhile, Winchester makes two target loads that produce pressures in the 7,000 psi range,[low noise/low recoil, and X-tra lite target]. There are some other brands, such as RST, Gamebore, and ARMUSA, which produce low pressure loads as well, and freely give this information. You can also load your own low pressure cartridges, there are numerous published recipes.
Sorry for the soapbox speech, but this "high/low brass" rhetoric, in this context, isn't good,[IMO].
Jim

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 Post subject: re: Proper ammo for old SXS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:14 am 
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Location: E. Rochester NY
Jim is right on.

Basically, the gun should be fine with lower pressure handloads, like 12 gauge 1-oz. loads of shot and IMR's PB Powder, which can produce pressures in the 5 to 6,000 psi range yet still give velocities that can drop game and break clays.

Actually, old guns deserve this treatment, and can last for generations. (Actually, so do some new guns.)

BobK

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 Post subject: re: Proper ammo for old SXS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 5:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 4:01 pm
Posts: 7
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Really appreciate the info - I copied and pasted it so I can refer back to it when I buy ammo.

I really want to shoot the gun safely and did not want it to be a wall hanger. Nice to know that so long as you get the right stuff I can shoot birds and clay without worry.

Thanks again

Harry


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 Post subject: re: Proper ammo for old SXS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 5:55 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 09, 2004 7:49 pm
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Be carefull. You most likely have 2 5/8" chambers. Have it checked out by a gunsmith. you can safely shoot 2 1/2" field loads out of it, or have the chambers lengthened. (I had it done to my Fox Sterlingworth made in 1917). 2 1/2" shells can be bought at Cabelas, They're made by Sellier and Bellot... 8)

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 Post subject: re: Proper ammo for old SXS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 5:58 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2003 8:27 pm
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I recommend measuring the chamber. A lot of the old guns were made for shells shorter than 2 and 3/4 inch. Just because a modern shells will fit in the chamber doesn't mean there is room for the crimp to unfold.




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